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Family farmers call for tougher CAFO regulations in Farm Bill; The Midwest and Northeast brace for record high temperature in heatwave; Financial-justice advocates criticize crypto regulation bill; Ohio advocates: New rules strengthen protections for sexual-assault victims.

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The RNC kicks off its election integrity effort, Democrats sound a warning bell about conservatives' Project 2025, and Republicans suggest funding cuts to jurisdictions with legal cases against Trump.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

Conservation coalition: Management plan would 'degrade' ID, MT forests

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Tuesday, May 28, 2024   

A coalition of groups are criticizing plans for managing about 4 million acres of national forest lands in Idaho and Montana.

Conservation groups in the region, as well as the Nez Perce Tribe, have submitted their objections to the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests Land Management Plan from the U.S. Forest Service.

Nick Gevock, Northern Rockies field organizer for the Sierra Club, said the plan would expand the land available for clear-cutting.

"This is really a debate about the highest and best use of these lands," Gevock explained. "This would degrade hundreds of thousands of acres of prime wildlife habitat."

Gevock noted hunting and angling groups have also expressed criticism about the plan because of its effects on wildlife. The Forest Service said the focus on timber harvest is to reduce fuel for wildfires in the forest. The agency is processing feedback and expected to finalize its plan this summer.

Jeff Juel, forest policy director for Friends of the Clearwater, said harvesting more of the forest will exacerbate climate change, taking away trees that naturally sequester carbon. He argued it would also harm endangered species in the region.

"Take for example species that are on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests," Juel outlined. "The wolverine, the Canada lynx, Chinook salmon, steelhead and grizzly bears, which are slowly trying to make their way back from adjacent areas, especially in Montana and farther north in Idaho."

Gevock added the coalition is concerned, considering the plan will drive management in the region for the next 20 to 30 years.

"It's a really diverse group just coming out and saying this type of management plan is not acceptable in 2024," Gevock stressed. "We need to more thoroughly consider the needs of wildlife and the people who love wildlife."

Disclosure: The Sierra Club contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Environment, and Environmental Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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